At the Canadian Digital Service, we partner up with federal departments to design, test and build simple, easy to use services. Our goal is to improve the experience – for people who deliver government services and people who use those services.

How it works

We work with our partners in the open, regularly sharing progress via public platforms. This creates a culture of learning and fosters best practices. And it means non-partner departments can apply our work and use our resources to develop their own services.

Together, we form a team that follows the 'Agile software development methodology'. This means we begin with an intensive 'Discovery' research phase to explore user needs and possible solutions to meeting those needs. After that, we move into a prototyping 'Alpha' phase to find and test ways to meet user needs. Next comes the 'Beta' phase, where we release the solution to the public and intensively test it. Lastly, the 'Live' phase, where the service is fully released and continues to be monitored and improved upon.

Between the Beta and Live phases, our team members step back from the service, and the partner team in the department continues the maintenance and development. We can help partners recruit their service team from both internal and external sources.

Before each phase begins, CDS and the partner sign a partnership agreement which outlines the goal and outcomes for the coming phase, how we’ll get there, and a commitment to get them done.

Who is on the team

Each team has a mix of members from CDS and the partner department so we can share our ways of working, and get a shared understanding of the problem we’re trying to solve together.

From CDS:

  • A product manager — they form the vision of the service, and set priorities for the team
  • A researcher — they work with people who will use the service to learn about their needs
  • Designers — they design solutions to meet the needs of people who will use the service
  • Developers — they write the code to build the service
  • Support from the Partnership, Policy and Outreach teams

The people and disciplines we need from a partner department varies, but in most cases the partner provides:

  • A service owner throughout
  • Experts from relevant service areas
  • Research, design, developer and policy staff, to match those on the CDS side (for the Alpha and Beta phases)
  • A full time autonomous multi-disciplinary team to continuously improve the service (for the Live phase)

Interested in chatting about a potential partnership?

What we're working on

Check out the overview of CDS partnerships below! To learn how we choose our partnerships, read this blog post.

In flight partnerships

Help Canadians access the CPP Disability Benefit

Exploring how to improve service delivery for Canadians with disabilities and their children who apply for Canada Pension Plan benefits.

Help Canadians with low income file taxes

Exploring a service to help Canadians with low income receive the benefits and refunds they’re entitled to by making it easier to file their taxes.

Report a cybercrime

Iterating on a service that makes it easier for victims of cybercrime to report an incident and get guidance on what they can do to protect themselves.

Send notifications to update people about their government service transactions

Providing a simple and efficient way for government to send email and text notifications to keep people updated as they use government services.


Bryan Willey

Past partnerships

E-Briefing App

An application to replace internal paper-based briefing binders.

EnerGuide API

A public-facing application programming interface (API) to open up access to EnerGuide Home Energy Ratings data in a transparent and reusable way.

Find relevant benefits for Veterans

An online tool to make it easier for Veterans and their family members to determine which benefits, programs, and services are relevant to them.

Guidance on regulatory consultation

Providing guidance on efforts to engage Canadians on regulations by identifying and validating user and business needs, conducting a market analysis of existing digital products, and presenting recommendations concerning procuring a product vs. building and maintaining a custom product.

Impact Canada Challenge Platform

A scalable, reusable platform that creates new opportunities for innovators and entrepreneurs to help solve Canada’s biggest challenges.

Make it easier to identify tender opportunities

Exploring a service to create a modern, single point of access to all tenders across governments, including publicly funded academic, social, and health institutions.

Reschedule a citizenship test

A service that allows people to reschedule their citizenship test online, moving away from paper-based processes and providing a simpler, easier and faster user experience for citizenship applicants.

Track web security compliance

An online tool to check which government sites and web services are meeting good security practices, such as requiring privacy-protecting Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) connections.